Meet Your Chair
David S. Jones has built a twenty-seven-year career in higher education and served in advancement roles for the majority of that time. He presently leads a department at UGA including the unit areas of Annual & Special Giving and Advancement Services. A large and critical component of the overall Development operation, the department is a catalyst for both annual and major gift support bridging the flow between annual giving cycles, data analytics, alumni engagement, and the systems for marketing, prospect identification and management.
He began his work experience as director of student cctivities at Gordon College, a small two-year school in Barnesville, GA. Returning to his alma mater with a deeper understanding of the student experience influence on philanthropic support, he then coordinated the alumni and development programs for UGA’s Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources. David transitioned to the university’s central advancement office in 1998 overseeing the annual giving programs for the institution and later also provided leadership for donor relations, advancement research, and prospect management. The Georgia Fund presently raises more than $20 million through an integrated phone, mail, and digital campaign. David led Georgia’s annual giving programs through several strategic transitions including multiple-ask strategies and a shift from alumni dues to charitable giving. He was the lead contact for development in a donor database conversion to Blackbaud CRM and is a change agent for continued innovation in fundraising marketing approaches and processes. His latest projects at UGA include centralizing all solicitation marketing efforts for 13 Schools and Colleges and also evolving the calling program into the University’s first Alumni Digital Engagement Center.
David is a “double dog” alumnus of UGA, with an undergraduate degree in public relations from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and a Master’s degree in organizational development from the College of Education. A CASE Crystal Apple award recipient for excellence in teaching, he has chaired numerous CASE programs and is a frequent presenter and facilitator at professional regional and national conferences including Persuasive Development Writing and the CASE Summer Institute in Educational Fund Raising.
Jennifer Beck brings 25 years of professional experience spanning communications, advancement, and writing instruction with a focus on storytelling that is strategic, compelling, and creative. In her role at Northwestern University, she manages advancement communications that support Northwestern’s $5 billion University-wide fundraising campaign. She collaborates with advancement leadership, gift officers, writers, and designers on a range of communications, including gift proposals and other projects that advance major and principal gift fundraising.
Prior to Northwestern, Beck worked in development communications at the University of Chicago and as an independent practitioner providing writing and communications for a range of publications and nonprofit organizations. She has an extensive background teaching writing and leading professional development in communications. CASE has recognized her as a ‘Stellar Speaker’.
Beck studied writing at the University of Iowa where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree. She earned a Master of Education in English from DePaul University as well as a teaching certificate. She holds a certificate in nonprofit management from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
Jennifer Bowie is the assistant vice president of communication and chief of staff for university advancement at Ohio University. Previously, she had been OHIO's executive director of advancement communication and marketing (2011-2018). She is responsible for planning and strategy, implementation and evaluation of marketing and communication for OHIO's alumni and friend engagement and fundraising efforts—including principal gift strategies and leadership engagement. She and her team develop brands, cases for support, websites, videos, major gift proposals and other collateral. In addition, she oversees the publishing of Ohio Today magazine and provides media relations support for the division. She also consults on marketing strategy for annual giving, gift planning, donor engagement, university advancement events and alumni relations. Prior to serving in this capacity, Bowie had been executive director of development for annual giving. Leading the annual giving team from 2006-2012, she was responsible for the university's annual giving tools including direct mail, phone, email, web and leadership annual giving.
Bowie began her career in development in 1999 at OHIO as a major gift officer. In 2001 she became director of development communication and served in that capacity until 2006.
She is a two-time Ohio University graduate, having earned her bachelor's degree in journalism from the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism in 1994 and her master's degree in communication in 1999. While perusing her master's, she taught a number of courses in the Scripps School including feature writing, strategic communication writing and essential college grammar.
Prior to beginning work on her master's in 1997, and embarking on a career in higher education, she worked in healthcare communication for Deaconess Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Heath Elliott serves at the associate dean for development and alumni relations at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, having previously served as senior director of development since 2011. He currently oversees the School’s development, stewardship and alumni relations programs. He also oversaw the School’s marketing and communication functions for three years. Prior to his tenure at the Bloomberg School, Heath held senior management positions at Harvey Mudd College and Pomona College, working in major gifts, alumni relations and annual giving programs. Heath earned a Bachelor of Arts from Centenary College of Louisiana, a Master of Education from the University of South Carolina, and a Master of Business Administration from the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University.
Gina Fiorillo is the senior director of annual giving at Rutgers University where she oversees a robust multi-channel annual giving program that reaches out to more than 550,000 alumni, faculty, staff, students, and friends of Rutgers annually. Overall, the annual giving team raises more than $12M annually. Gina is also senior faculty for AGN, where she shares her knowledge on a wide range of topics, helping advance higher education fundraisers discover best practices and strengthen their base of philanthropic support.
Prior to the Rutgers University Foundation, Gina served as the first development professional for Slow Food USA, a national organization committed to a sustainable food system. There she built the first fundraising program and doubled the number of donors giving $1000 or more.
A graduate of Douglass College, Gina began her career at George Street Playhouse where she managed special events from opening nights to the annual gala and golf tournament. From there she managed the annual giving program for Douglass College, raising more than $1M annually and increasing donor retention by 5%. Additional positions at Kean University helped hone her alumni relations expertise. She earned her MPA from the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University in 2018.
Matt Honeycutt is the vice president of development at Feeding Westchester where he oversees marketing and communications, fundraising, and volunteer services. At the heart of a network of 300 agency programs and partners, Feeding Westchester delivered over 10 million pounds of food last year to help feed over 200,000 families in need, including 60,000 children. In addition to sourcing fresh, nutritious food, Feeding Westchester secures corporate, government, and private sector funding and mobilizes over 11,000 volunteers, every year, to help address the underlying causes of hunger in Westchester County, NY.
Prior to Feeding Westchester, Matt spent over two decades in colleges and schools as an instructor and senior fundraiser and served as director of development at schools from Charlotte, NC to Greenwich, CT. Most recently, Matt led fundraising for Whitby School in Greenwich. He held similar positions at Wooster School (CT), Saddle River Day School (NJ), and Providence Day School (NC). In these roles, he worked with staff and volunteers to implement annual and capital campaign initiatives, coordinate alumni programming and campus events, and publish an array of print and electronic communications.
Honeycutt is a graduate of Winthrop University where he earned his bachelor's degree in English and creative writing and a master's degree in English literature.
Marie Kelly is the director of corporate, foundation and donor relations at Stonehill College, where she identifies potential corporate and foundation funders to support institutional priorities and assists college leadership in the cultivation of relationships with corporate and foundation donors. Her grantseeking efforts are informed by Stonehill’s strategic and long-range plans. She works closely with Stonehill faculty, staff and program directors to prepare grant applications, proposals and letters of inquiry. She also coordinates the stewardship reporting process for the College’s major donors – preparing timely and accurate reports to donors on the use and impact of their philanthropic gifts.
Kelly graduated from Stonehill College in 2000 with degrees in psychology and English and began a career in development at Boston Children's Hospital Trust, the philanthropic resource for Boston Children's Hospital. Her first role at Boston Children’s was as a development associate for corporate and foundation relations, were she assisted the director of corporate and foundation relations with proposal submissions, stewardship reports and resolicitations. She then shifted to the donor relations department at the Trust, where she served as a stewardship officer—developing and overseeing appropriate written stewardship for the hospital's top donors.
After almost seven years at Boston Children's Hospital Trust, Kelly returned to Stonehill College in January 2007 to assume her current position.
Elizabeth Keppel is the director of development for annual giving at the University of Florida, where she leads a comprehensive, university-wide leadership annual giving program. In addition to growing revenue and building donor pipeline, the program serves as the talent source for the organization and trains UF’s major gift fundraisers of tomorrow. Elizabeth is also a senior faculty member for AGN, helping academic institutions discover best practices and strengthen their base of philanthropic support. In her prior role at UF, Elizabeth served as the associate director of annual giving and was the primary annual giving contact for 13 college and unit partners across campus. In this role, Elizabeth managed direct mail projects and built an integrated digital fundraising program that increased revenue by 197% in the first year and sustained aggressive growth in subsequent years.
Prior to joining the UF staff in July 2015, she worked as an assistant director in the Office of Lifetime Philanthropic Engagement & Annual Giving at her alma mater, the College of William & Mary in Virginia. Elizabeth has a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Education in Higher Education Administration from William & Mary.
Tracey Palmer is a storyteller on a mission. She loves crafting compelling stories that build relationships and drive results. An award-winning marketing and development communications professional with more than 20 years' experience, Palmer specializes in writing, editing, coaching, and project management for education clients, healthcare organizations, and other nonprofits, through her consulting company, Palmer Communications.
Some of her recent clients include MIT Sloan, Brown University, St. Mark’s School, Sutter Healthcare System, and the University of Colorado.
Formerly, Palmer was senior university writer and magazine editor for Suffolk University; director of publications, public relations, and advertising for Curry College; and marketing associate for an international academic publisher.
A highly rated workshop leader and coach, Palmer is a longtime CASE faculty member and volunteer, serving on the Development Writing Conference faculty since 2004. Most recently, she served as a judge for the CASE District 1 best Magazine Article competition. She is a CASE Crystal Apple recipient and a CASE Laureate. Palmer also presents workshops for APF-Massachusetts, Cape Cod Philanthropy Day, the Brand Together Conference, and the Northeast Annual Giving Conference. She is the founder of Chicks Who Write—a 300-member professional networking group for women who freelance as writers in greater Boston.
Palmer has a bachelor's degree in American literature from The George Washington University and a master's degree in communication from Suffolk University, and studied in England at the University of East Anglia. She completed Grub Street's Novel Incubator program in Boston in 2016, and serves on the group's alumni board.
Maura King Scully
Maura King Scully is an award-winning marketing communications professional and writer. Since 1999, she’s specialized in writing, editing, and project management for a variety of clients in education, health care, and other nonprofit fields.
Maura has a particular expertise in advancement communications. At last count, she has produced materials in support of 70 fundraising campaigns—everything from developing campaign themes and messaging platforms to college and university case statements, school and unit case statements, campaign websites, as well as major gifts and grant proposals. Her campaign communications work has been completed for clients ranging from small private day schools to major research universities.
Maura is active in a number of professional organizations, particularly the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). Over the past 18 years, she has served on the faculty for CASE’s Persuasive Development Writing conference, presented conference sessions at a number of CASE district conferences, chaired workshops, judged publications contests, and served on conference committees. She holds CASE’s Crystal Apple award, recognizing stellar conference speakers, and has been named a CASE Laureate, an honor society for senior advancement professionals.
Maura holds a B.A. in communications and an M.A. in administration from Boston College.
Robin Torbron Warde
Robin Torbron Warde is director of alumni and parent engagement at Bryant University. A thirty plus year veteran of higher education including fund raising leadership positions at Columbia and Brown Universities and Wheaton College, Robin has found her passion in developing meaningful ways to connect alumni back to their alma mater. Robin and her team have refined a matrix to measure and track alumni engagement as part of an overall strategic plan. Her office connects alumni and parents through integrated communications, involves alumni and parents to insure student success, and promotes alumni and parent leadership and innovation through creative programming.
When not working and traveling for Bryant, Robin serves her community as a board member and past president of Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island, a community service organization serving immigrants and refugees. She is also on the board of the International Charter School, an IB accredited K-5 school with dual language programs in Portuguese/English and Spanish/English.
Robin received her A.B. in Applied Music from Youngstown State University and an M.F.A. in Arts Administration from Columbia University in New York City.
Marilyn Woodman is the director of corporate and foundation relations at Smith College, one of the largest liberal arts college for women in the country. She began her career at Smith 26 years ago as the staff writer in the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations. Since that time, her responsibilities have changed and in her current position, she manages the Corporate and Foundation Relations Department focusing primarily on overall strategic planning, developing and sustaining partnerships with corporations and foundations, writing proposals, and making visits.
Prior to working at Smith, she held positions at the Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities, Amherst College, and the Williston Northampton School. She serves on the United Way Board.
Woodman earned her bachelor's degree in English Literature from Antioch College, and she completed a master's degree in arts and teaching, with a focus on English, at Rhode Island College. She taught English in high school and has taught writing at Holyoke Community College for more than 20 years.